Minor League Ball Gameday, July 5

Dellin Betances - USA TODAY Sports

Good morning prospect watchers. I trust you all had a good July 4th holiday. Let's get down to business.

***Yesterday's Minor League Ball Gameday thread.

***Remember Dellin Betances? The New York Yankees farmhand has converted to relief at Triple-A Scranton and has taken to it well, posting a 2.45 ERA in 29 relief innings with a 36/10 K/BB and 17 hits allowed. He's been especially effective of late, with a 21/5 K/BB in his last 16 innings,allowing just seven hits over that stretch. Right-handers have hit just .143 against him this year. He's always had good stuff, but lack of athleticism and problems repeating his mechanics made it difficult for him to harness his arm strength as a starter. Relief seems to suit him better.

***The Yankees have another interesting prospect down at Low-A Charleston in the South Atlantic League: first baseman Greg Bird. He is a 6-3, 215 pound first baseman drafted in the fifth round in 2011 out of high school in Colorado. He's hit three homers in his last 10 games for the RiverDogs, although otherwise he has struggled with contact of late, hitting .205 and whiffing 14 times over that stretch.

Still, Bird is a player to watch, hitting .278/.395/.463 with eight homers, 24 doubles, and 53 walks in 281 at-bats. He's quite strong but still working to tap his full power potential. Observers close to the Yankees system regard him as a significant sleeper and at age 20 he still has lots of time to work on his contact issues.

***St. Louis Cardinals 2013 first-round pick Rob Kaminsky made his pro debut yesterday, throwing a shutout inning for the Gulf Coast League Cardinals. He gave up two hits, but ended up striking out the side.

***New York Mets outfield prospect Wuilmer Becerra went 2-for-4 with two doubles yesterday for the GCL Mets. He's hitting .324/.366/.378 with two walks and eight strikeouts in 37 at-bats so far. Originally signed by the Blue Jays out of Venezuela for $1,300,000 in 2011, he came to New York as part of the R.A. Dickey trade. He's a lanky 6-4, 190 pound right-handed hitter with long levels and big power potential, if he can refine his swing mechanics.

***Another big budget Blue Jays signee is Franklin Barretto, signed out of Venezuela last summer for $1,450,000 and considered the top non-Cuban prospect in the '12 international class by many experts. He's off to a good start in the Gulf Coast League, hitting .361/.465/.417 in his first nine games, with six walks and five strikeouts in 36 at-bats. Another big-ticket 2012 signee, Minnesota Twins third base prospect Amaurys Minier, is also hitting well in his first exposure with a .324/.366/.541 line for the GCL Twins in his first 11 games. The Dominican earned a $1,400,000 bonus.

***Today's minor league baseball schedule.

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